“We are here to have a conversation,” said Student Government Association President Robert Belcourt at the opening of last week’s community town hall. “We are not here to fight each other.
Last Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 7:00 p.m, city officials, the University of Mary Washington administration and the SGA partnered together in Lee Hall to hold a community town hall meeting to discuss the role UMW plays in the community.
After an introduction of each panel member, students and community members were able to submit questions to the panel. The panel consisted of UMW President Richard Hurley, Vice President of Student Affairs Doug Searcy, Fredericksburg’s Senior Planner Eric Nelson and Fredericksburg Informational Officer Natatia Bledsoe.
College Heights Homeowners Association President Meredith Beckett Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker and Police Chief David Nye were also a part of the panel.
Nye said that the number of complaints when interacting with the public had increased when it came to students. For the first time, there seemed to be a general frustration among the community.
Additionally, Nye also thanked the student athletes for their participation in the community, specifically noting the Special Olympics
All throughout the panel, UMW students were commended for their active and public participation in the community.
“When you come here, you are part of a greater community,” said Rucker. “You are recognized for how much you give to the community. You make it better because of your presence.”
UMW officials stressed the importance of students being respectful when they are out, and keeping in mind that there was a policy created for off-campus conduct.
“Our interest is that you continue to have fun, but recognize that we have responsibilities,” said Hurley.
If a student is found to be involved in an incident that portrays the university in a negative way, they could be held accountable by university standards.
The question and answer portion of the meeting consisted of questions from attendees about College Heights, the release of public information, student parking and housing.
The panel also took time to acknowledge that majority of UMW is not to blame.
“Some of us are getting painted by a broad brush for the actions of a few,” said Hurley.
“If you are diligent, your college experience will be four years, but ours will be ongoing,” said Nelson.